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Thorac Surg Clin. 2004 Aug;14(3):353-65.

Quality of life after lung cancer resection.

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  • 1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China.


Lung cancer continues to be the most common cancer in the world, with the highest cancer mortality rate by far. Although resection remains the treatment of choice in early-stage NSCLC, the prognosis remains grim even after surgical treatment. In a patient population with such a high mortality rate, evaluation and preservation of QOL after treatment is imperative. Early-stage lung cancer patients already have significantly lower QOL when compared with the normal population before surgical treatment, with significant impairment in physical and emotional functioning. Lung cancer resection causes further deterioration of QOL, especially in the first 3 to 6 months after surgery. While some studies suggest that QOL returns to baseline levels at 6 to 9 months postoperatively, others report that QOL is still significantly impaired at 6 months and 1 year after surgery. Although prospective studies analyzing long-term postoperative QOL are not available, retrospective data suggest that long-term survivors after lung cancer surgery enjoy good QOL despite impaired physical functioning. QOL studies on VATS lung cancer resection are extremely limited. More prospective, longitudinal studies with larger study populations and longer follow-up periods are needed to portray the course of QOL in lung cancer patients more accurately and to improve postoperative care. Furthermore, comparative studies between VATS and the standard thoracic incisions (including QOL assessments) must be performed to guide clinical decision making regarding selection of optimal access modality for performing lung cancer resection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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